Academy of St Thomas

CHRISTOPHER SMITH St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

Lively, tuneful yet with its spice of drama, Schubert's Second Overture in the Italian Style did just what an overture is supposed to do: it captured the audience's attention from the start, and as excitement built up in its development, it raised expectations of good things to come.

They came in the form of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante. The confident solo-ists were Michael Davis and Philip Dukes.

Their exuberant cuddle at the end was only one testimony to deep musical sympathy. It was a delight to hear the violin and the viola combining so skilfully, on terms of total equality.

Sometimes the accent fell on the individuality in tone of these two instruments, so similar and yet so different in character. In other situations came expert blending in harmony and elegant mirroring of one another's phrasing.

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Conducted with care for nuance by Christopher Adey and led by David Randall, the Academy provided supporting accompaniment that was never too loud or overassertive. Horns added colour, on occasion in motifs with a rural ring.

Haydn's Symphony No 101 gave the orchestra opportunities for showing its class. Opening with mystery, the first movement soon took a cheerful turn. As the bassoon gravely kept up the pulse, the Andante featured the mesmeric rhythm traditionally likened to a ticking clock. The buoyancy of the minuet led into an exuberant finale.

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